Saturday, July 28, 2007

Blood Stains On The Floor

This morning I visited Carnton Plantation in Franklin, TN. This was my 4th visit to this historic home. It is arguably the best historic house tour I have ever been on, and yet I have never had the same tour twice. Many of Carntons tour guides are in fact historians, who have spent a lot of time reaching their particular areas of interest. I've been on a general tour of the home, a tour with a women's studies historian and this morning's tour was led by Eric A. Jacobson, who is Carnton's resident military historian.

Before preceeding further, I should explain... Carnton was used as a Confederate field hospital immediately after the horrific Battle of Franklin. After the battle the home was packed with wounded Confederate soldiers. Blood was everywhere, and still evident today are the blood stains under the south windows where the surgeons worked in the best light available.

Mr. Jacobson gave a very gripping account of the battle, filled with intimate details which almost brought the battle to life for many of us. One can never fully imagine the horrors of that night in Franklin, or the days imediately in its aftermath, but Mr. Jacobson came as close as one could possibly get in the very short time in which he had to lead us through the home.

Franklin is a battle of the Civil War which up until very recently has been largely forgotten. However, Carnton has figured prominantly in two works of fiction about the battle: Howard Bahr's The Black Flower and Robert Hicks' Widow of the South both of which are helping draw visitors from not only around the country but around the world.

Mr. Jacobson as also written about the battle in a nonfiction work entitled For Cause For Country - A Study of the Affair at Spring Hill and the Battle of Franklin. Many of us who were in the tour group (there were about 30 of us - I think the largest group I have been with going through the house) were so impressed with Mr. Jacobson's tour that we bought his book. The gift shop actually sold all their copies they had on display and they had to get some more from their store room. He was even nice enough to inscribe my copy.

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